Monteith Goss adds CCHS girls basketball, Wester returns to coach Warrior basketball
Cherokee County volleyball coach Leah Monteith Goss will now also be coaching the Lady Warrior basketball team. She was officially hired for the position on Tuesday.
Former Oneonta coach and Cherokee County High School graduate Neal Wester is returning to coach the Warrior boys basketball team. Photo courtesy of www.southernexposurephotos.com
CENTRE – Leah Monteith Goss and Neal Wester are both proud members of Cherokee County High School’s basketball history.
Monteith Goss helped lead the Lady Warriors to state titles in 1992 and 1993. Wester helped guide the Warriors to an area championship under former coach Dale Welsh in 1986.
About a year ago, Monteith Goss answered the call to return home by taking the reigns of the Lady Warrior volleyball program. On Tuesday, she added to her duties by accepting the Lady Warriors’ basketball vacancy.
Wester, who coached the Cherokee County boys program from 1991-97, will return for a second term as Warrior head coach this fall.
Both coaches, along with soccer coach Matthew Pharr, were approved by the Cherokee County Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting.
Monteith Goss and Wester replace the basketball vacancies left by Travis Barnes, who accepted the head softball and cross country coaching positions at Athens High School earlier this month.
“It’s very exciting. I’m looking forward to it,” Monteith Goss said of her new basketball duties. “Being back in my hometown and giving back to the community this past year has been a huge blessing. It’s something I have dreamed about, and it’s exciting that it’s finally coming to pass. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Wester echoed Monteith Goss’s comments on being back home.
“It’s my alma mater, and I have a lot of memories as a player and as a coach. It’s got a big place in my heart,” said Wester. “I think this will be a great move for me and my family.”
Monteith Goss is one of the most decorated basketball players in Cherokee County High School history.
In addition to leading the Lady Warriors to back-to-back Class 4A state titles in 1992 and 1993, she was named the Alabama Sportswriters Association Miss Basketball winner and The Birmingham News’ 1993 Player of the Year. She was also named the Class 4A MVP of the 1993 state tournament and set a school record for most points (29, 30, 34) in three Class 4A state tournament games.
Following her high school career, Monteith Goss earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Alabama, where she was a member of the Tide’s 1994 Final Four team. She was also a member of Alabama’s 1995, 1996 and 1997 Sweet 16 teams.
Monteith Goss was selected to the Cherokee County Hall of Fame in 2006. That same year, she led Saks High School to the Class 4A state volleyball championship.
Monteith Goss said she’s looking forward to the challenge coaching basketball brings.
“Coach Barnes has done a wonderful job building this program up and taking them far,” she said. “It’s nice to step into what he’s been building all these years. The girls know how to win. They’ve got a good foundation underneath them. I just hope to continue to build on to that foundation and hopefully one day win some championships. That’s my goal.”
Following his varsity basketball career with the Warriors under Hall of Fame coach Dale Welsh, Wester – a 1986 Cherokee County High graduate – headed the Warrior program for six seasons before moving on to Ashville for two years.
Wester has spent the past 10 years at Oneonta, where he guided the Redskins to three straight Northeast Regional appearances (2010-12) and a Final 48 berth in Birmingham in 2012.
“It’s been a good 10-year run (at Oneonta),” said Wester, who was also head coach of the Redskin tennis teams. “I got close with a lot of players and we had a lot of great experiences. It’s hard to leave such a good place after being a part of such an overall successful program, but I’m excited for this opportunity (at Cherokee County).”
Stability is one thing Wester said the Warriors need to be successful. He becomes the Warrior boys’ third head coach in the past five seasons.
Wester promises to “give everything I’ve got to those kids.”
“I think we’ve got the talent to be successful right away,” Wester said.
Cherokee County High School Principal Seth Neyman said all of the Warriors’ coaching hires on Tuesday are not only quality coaches, but quality teachers as well.
“Coach Goss has come in and done a wonderful job in the science classroom. She’s really been putting forth a great effort and has really kept our students active and progressing,” Neyman said.
“As far as Neal Wester goes, he taught me math and taught me Algebra (in the early 1990s). He’s a quality teacher, and I know he’ll do great things for Mrs. (Marcia) Sewell at the middle school as a math interventionist. I believe he will maintain the discipline and the structure the basketball program needs.”
“Matthew Pharr is our soccer coach, and he’s going to be teaching ninth, 10th and 11th grade history, possibly some senior history level too. He’s worked with our youth league and has a great energy surrounding the soccer program. We’re lucky to have him on staff now.”
Neyman also expressed his gratitude to Justin Taylor, Brooke Tallent and Casey Hansard for stepping in during the basketball coaching transitions.
The Warriors still have a head coaching vacancy left in softball, but Neyman is hopeful to have that position filled soon.